Originally posted at blogcritics.org
So, who wrote The Book Of Love? Well, according to the makers of American Pie Presents: The Book Of Love, the mighty tome was written by none other than Eugene Levy. And who could argue with that, really? After all, Eugene Levy is one of the most gorgeous and desirable men to ever walk in front of a camera — and if you’ve seen him as his famous SCTV character, Bobby Bittman, you no doubt know what I mean.
“How are ya!”
Sadly, though, Mr. Levy’s screen time in American Pie Presents: The Book Of Love — the latest chapter in the seemingly-endless flogging of a dead horse — is limited to somewhere in the neighborhood of ten minutes or so. The rest of the film is carried (in a rather mediocre manner) by the franchise’s new teen characters: Bug Hall, Kevin M. Horton, and Brandon Hardesty — all of whom are well-past their teenage years. The story (what there is of one, at least) has our three heroes all dealing with those complex hormone horrors we all experienced in high school (where applicable), and trying to lose their virginities. There’s really nothing new to be found here, with the exception of the film’s soundtrack, which contains at least fifty-gazillion new and modern hits (and a few old ones, too including “The Book Of Love”), and the film flaunts them mercilessly at us.
The only recognizable (or at least, enjoyable) plot point in the entire film centers on our main character, Rob (Bug Hall), who accidentally damages the infamous “book” from the original film (in which former students jotted down their sexual experiences in the hopes that future generations would learn how to please their ladies). He in turn discovers that the book was the brainchild of one Noah Levenstein (Levy), who now runs a carpet store. Rob and his pals meet up with the carpet salesman in an attempt to contact all of the other previous authors and recreate it, so as not to miss out on any further direct-to-video sequels. Again, this whole chapter lasts about ten minutes or so, and features a lot of familiar faces such as C. Thomas Howell, Christopher Knight, Tim Matheson, Steve Railsback, Robert Romanus, and Bret Michaels.
The rest of the movie is just your standard American Pie filling (bad pun intended): the boys have a lot of awkward moments with young and old ladies alike, there’s a random character named Stifler (who gets raped by a moose near the “climax” of the film), and, in the unrated version, there are a lot of awful-looking silicon-enhanced breasts that probably wouldn’t even thrill the junior high to college-aged kids this film is aimed at. A few more familiar (adult) faces include Rosanna Arquette (as Hall’s mum), Kevin Federline (boy, the budget on this one must’ve been sky-high), Sherman Hemsley (as a priest), and Revenge Of The Nerds alumni Curtis Armstrong (who has made quite a living appearing in trash like this).
On Blu-ray, Universal Studios presents both the Unrated and R-Rated versions of this painfully unfunny comedy in a 1080p/VC-1 1.78:1 widescreen transfer. The presentation looks very good considering the film is just another direct-to-video wonder: colors appear to be rather solid, and the contrast comes through fairly well (a few of the darker/nighttime scenes present a little grain, but chances are you’re not going to pick this up specifically for its Blu-ray aspects). The film boasts an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless track. On the whole, it’s good (not the greatest workout your system will ever get), and really pushes the movie’s soundtrack (see above) in your face (or ears, as it were). Standard DTS 5.1 tracks are also available in Spanish and French, and there are English (SDH), French and Spanish subtitles included.
So, what could be more disappointing than American Pie Presents: The Book Of Love itself? Well, the array of special features definitely fall into the second-rate category here. The first big letdown here is the fact that all of these extras are presented in Standard Definition. The second downer is the fact that they all pretty much suck. A few deleted scenes feature little else than more unappealing breasts and some bits that are found on the main menu, interestingly enough. Two behind-the-scenes pieces (entitled “From The Set,” and “On The Set” — oooh, how unique) offer more boring Pie filler. A few members of the cast and crew hand out a few pointers in “Just The Tips: The Love Manual,” while Eugene Levy, director John Putch, and others fail miserably at some “American Pie Trivia.” Lastly, there’s an unfunny gag reel, and a look at this entry’s many guest stars (“American Pie-cons”).
Let’s look at it this way: the Pie was served ten years ago. A total of two pieces were consumed by the masses before they grew weary of its flavor. Since then, studio execs have struck a deal with the same people that make those chemicals to preserve Hostess pies in order to make the remaining Pie still visually appealing, with no regard whatsoever as to the taste. Once consumers buy into it, they could care less if they bite into it — they’ve made their money, after all.
In the end, no matter how many preservatives you pump into it, and despite all of the fresh whipping and ice cream they may have covered it in just to tempt us, there is no denying that American Pie Presents: The Book Of Love is just a stale and moldy leftover Pie that somebody should have thrown out years ago.